Labor News From Our Region
Minimum wage, CLEAN Missouri ballot initiatives are key to defeating RTW
By TIM ROWDEN
Elections are all about numbers. Whoever gets the most voters to the polls wins.
While union members and working family volunteers were successful in gathering 310,567 signatures to put a citizens’ veto measure to repeal so-called “right-to-work” (for less) on the 2018 ballot, defeating this anti-worker law will require getting like-minded voters who might not be union members to the polls.
Getting the Raise Up Missouri initiative to raise Missouri’s minimum wage and the CLEAN Missouri initiative to make state government more transparent on the ballot could help defeat RTW. The Missouri AFL-CIO has endorsed both measures.
“People that are going to turn out to vote to raise the minimum wage and CLEAN up Missouri politics are going to vote to defeat RTW,” said Jake Hummel, secretary-treasurer of the Missouri AFL-CIO.
Getting all three measures on the ballot will help each of them get passed.
Missouri’s working families deserve a living wage and a government that is transparent and represents everyday people. But backers of these measures need our help to get these initiatives on the ballot.
RAISE UP MISSOURI
No one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.
Right now, too many Missouri parents who work – often at more than one job – still struggle to put food on the table. Even working full-time at Missouri’s $7.70 minimum wage, they earn just over $300 a week.
The Raise Up Missouri campaign is about making sure parents – not taxpayers – can provide basics like groceries and rent for the one in five children in low-income families in Missouri.
The statewide initiative, which would appear on the November 2018 ballot, would raise the minimum wage to $8.60 in 2019 and 85 cents each year after that, capping at $12 in 2023. The wage would then continue to rise with the cost-of-living.
More than 500,000, or one in five working Missourians, would see their wages rise by the time the raise is fully implemented, and nearly a million, or one in three working Missourians, would see a benefit from the ripple effects of working people having more money to spend in their communities.
Placing the statutory measure on the ballot requires gathering roughly 100,000 signatures, representing five percent of ballots cast in the last gubernatorial election, in six of the state’s eight congressional districts.
You can donate to the campaign or volunteer to help gather signatures by visiting raiseupmo.org.
The CLEAN Missouri initiative is desperately needed to make state government more transparent. “Dark money has flooded Missouri to buy our elections,” said Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO.
“This initiative would limit this power and hold legislators accountable when they fail to act in the public interest. Our elected officials have failed to act on this issue for years, even with public support.”
The CLEAN Missouri initiative would:
• Lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates.
• Eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly.
• Require that House and Senate members wait two years before becoming lobbyists.
• Require that legislative records be open to the public.
• Ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census, by asking a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps, which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission. This would make Missouri one of the first states to mandate the use of a new statistical model for redistricting to diminish partisan gerrymandering.
“When we get big money out of state politics, candidates work to win our votes, debate the issues, and represent us — their constituents,” said Rev. Starsky D. Wilson of St. Louis, president & CEO of the Deaconess Foundation and pastor of Saint John’s Church.
“Too often, the only people running for political offices are the rich, the well connected, or people who cave to special interests,” Wilson said. “It doesn’t have to be this way. The CLEAN Missouri amendment will level the playing field for the citizens who want to run for office because they understand the struggles of working families — and are tired of politicians ignoring them.”
The CLEAN Missouri initiative will appear on the November 2018 ballot if enough valid signatures are submitted by May 2018.
For more information or to volunteer, visit CleanMissouri.org.